Stealth Artists and Boss Moves
Like so many others, I got seduced into buying Beyonce’s new album, Beyonce: The Visual Album, and have been giving it a thorough listen and watch (it includes 14 audios and 17 videos) this past snowy weekend. It’s a solid R&B effort and has some catchy tunes (my favorite tracks – “Blow,” “Haunted,” “Jealous,” “Rocket” and “Drunk in Love,” even if the latter track includes some abusive lyrics about being “Ike Turner” courtesy of Beyonce’s other half) but hardly revelatory or revolutionary in its musical production.
Folks are just salivating over this effort because of its “stealth” marketing move – when every other pop artist has been following the record-label-version of marketing (i.e. putting out a few singles since consumers no longer bother with full albums thanks to Internet and file-sharing). I admire Beyonce for refusing to follow this traditional strategy and, instead, just “drops” an album via social media and subsequently getting her fans amped up! Folks are still dizzy in a tailspin!
I admire Beyonce’s stealth boss moves in determining how and when music consumers will consume her product, but I must say: I’m not as bowled over or stunned by such moves.
Could it be because for the past five years, I’ve been following an artist who is the King of stealthy “boss” moves? If David were on Beyonce’s stratospheric level, I could so totally see him doing something like this and subsequently getting his fans amped up and riled and googly-eyed and awed. It’s because I’ve gotten so used to following an artist who puts out various little pleasantries and such on Twitter and YouTube, and then just drops “surprise bombs” on us why Beyonce doesn’t surprise me in the least. Think of what we’ve been through as a fanbase:
“What?!! Another Christmas concert? I’m so there!!”
“Noooooo! He’s leaving on a mission! How will I survive his two-year absence!!!”
“OMG! He gave us not one, not two, but THREE surprise albums before leaving for said mission! David does the most!”
It’s because David has always been about his music and image-management, and keeping it securely on lockdown (despite the VRS that often try to leak his trade secrets) that I keep holding onto the faith that he’ll find his way to the top. He’s very much like Beyonce (an artist David has admired in the past) in the way he engages and disengages with both social media and his fans.
If anything, Beyonce has forced the issue of record labels finding ways to rethink their strategies. She’s definitely got the iconic status and fanbase to try such a stealth move, but I’m very grateful that she tried something so stealth, so “boss,” that folks think she’s shifted the game in the music industry.
Any shifting is only sure to better position the players in the game. And right on time for David’s return next year! 🙂
I can’t help but feel optimistic that there is a place for “stealth” artists like David.